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Theological facts are like the altar of Elijah on Carmel before the fire came, correct, properly laid out, but altogether cold. When the heart makes the ultimate surrender, the fire falls and true facts are transmuted into spiritual truth that transforms, enlightens, sanctifies. The church or the individual that is Bible taught without being Spirit taught (and there are many of them) has simply failed to see that truth lies deeper than the theological statement of it. A.W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian

I believe it was Andrew Murray that confessed to teaching beyond personal practice. The same was true of Paul (Philippians 3:12); so, I am in good company in regard to the following.

God has used my study of microeconomics to shed some light on His economy. The truth can be both convicting and encouraging. I pray your consideration of the following will also make you free.

  1. If what we are doing has no current or future value to the kingdom of God, then we are devaluing the time and life we have been given.
  2. The way we invest what has been invested in us either adds to, or subtracts from, the value of it.
  3. The cost of time is the explicit time spent in the activity PLUS the implicit lost opportunity cost (i.e., what could have been earned doing a more profitable activity). Lost opportunity cost is many times greater, but often hidden from our consideration.
  4. The issues of cost/investment also apply to our talent, money, belongings, etc.

This kind of thinking raises the bar considerably. Is it too much to expect? Beware of your soulish reasoning. Don’t let your mind play tricks on you.

Most would agree that Jesus perfectly invested what the Father was investing in Him. This Son of Man, knowing what the Father was capable of, said a couple of interesting things.

Read the rest of this entry »

CompassBeth and I are having a particularly blessed Christmas season. I find myself – like so many others – wanting to hang on; and I will, at least through the end of the year. Thankfully, the reason for this season stays with us for eternity.

But still, 2017 is coming up the driveway; and will be soon knocking at our door. I am already thinking about next week’s meetings and writing deadlines. There is no stopping the movement of time.

So, how do we move on from Christmas? How do we hold onto the reason for the season, as we move into the promise of New Year adventures?

Being a child that likes to ask questions, I asked those questions of our Father in heaven. Being a Father that likes to talk to His children, He answered. Being a brother who likes to pass on the Father’s encouragement, I am sharing with you, the beginnings of that answer.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8

Finding the mind of Jesus, in His “coming in the likeness of men”, is the beginning point for our transition into the New Year. As the Father sent Jesus, so Jesus sends us (John 20:21). The parallels here are astounding. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowOur God is a process oriented problem solver. All of His creation operates in process: From birth to death, from dead in sin to alive in Christ, from glory to glory, etc. Give Him a problem and He will give you a process to solve it. The Bible is His story – the grand process that He is orchestrating to get back what was lost to Him and mankind in the Garden of Eden.

Most of the major topics of Scripture are process oriented. We are to continue and grow in some of them (e.g., faith, hope and love). Others are processes that God uses to mature us (e.g., tribulation, sanctification, transformation, and disciple-making). Even our salvation is a process; not a singular event.

Regrettably, we have become an event-focused people. “If it isn’t happening now, it just isn’t happening” is our motto. “What have you done for me today?” has become our measure.

This degraded perspective has affected our doctrine and our discipline. For example, we are more concerned with the event of a lost soul making a decision than with the processes of sanctification and discipleship. We give more attention to what we can squeeze out of God in 30-minute devotion events than we give to the life He wants to live in and through us every moment of the day.

Recognizing that God operates “in process” will dramatically change our perspective of the way we are to live in Christ. It will impact our relationship with God and with all of His creation. Read the rest of this entry »

Military Salute from iStockMost serious Christians recognize that most media is of this world (at enmity with God). That includes what we find at the theatre, on television, and on the internet. Even “clean” content can be dangerous, in a most sinister way. Here are two examples:

  1. The time we spend being entertained and informed by media outlets subtly takes the place of the time we should be spending with God, seeking His pleasure and revelation. I have found in my own life that “just 30 minutes” of winding down can easily turn into a couple of wasted hours. Think about it. Making such a poor investment of our time is truly self-destructive behavior. It might even be a sign that media has become an idol – providing what we should be seeking from God. If we are not very careful, Satan will use it to draw us further from the Lord – as in my second example.
  2. Do you think that the rise in the popularity of reality TV is a coincidence? I have come to believe that it is a sinister tactic of our worst enemy. The whole premise of reality TV – the draw of it – is that it allows us to live our lives through other people. This is, at the very least, a distraction from our living our lives through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:13, 1Peter 2:5). Worst than this is the potential it has to engage our heart in such a way that we begin to prefer the lives of others – further separating us from the life we are called to live in our Lord.

It is important to recognize that media is developed to conform the mind to the philosophy and world view of the media provider. This is more than psychological conformation (as if that were not bad enough). Scientists have proven that the “wiring” in our brain is physically changed by what passes through it.

Most importantly, this is a spiritual matter; for we are commanded to avoid the conforming power of the world (Romans 12:2). The next time you are watching reality TV, or VLOGs on the internet, consider the damage you are doing to your mind. Recognize that you are under attack from the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy. Fight the good fight. Resist the Devil (and his schemes) and he will flee from you.

 

Humbly yours and forever His,

 

iStock_000014731095SmallLet’s say you are a draftsman, and an aspiring architect. Let’s say an established and highly respected architect asks you to join his team; that he has seen your work and would like to train you to take over his firm. Without hesitation, you drop what you are doing and follow him; for this is your heart’s desire.

Time goes by. You spend three and one-half years with him, being made into the architect that he desire you to be. Then the day arrives for his retirement. With the authority vested in him as the owner of said firm, he commissions you to carry on his good work; work that he has promised will be greater than anything you have seen to date. What do you do next?

Do you go back to being a draftsman? Do you limit yourself to drawing preliminary or conceptual plans? Do you start creating paintings of buildings?

Do you do anything but the work he has trained, and commissioned, you to do?

Do you settle for less because it’s easier being something less than an architect?

To some, these questions will seem silly; even a waste of time. I wish they were. I wish they were not relevant to our current situation. I wish the Western church had not settled for less. I wish we knew what it meant to be fishers of men; and were about doing the business to which we had been commissioned.

Regrettably, we (leaders of the Western church) have altered the definitions to make being a disciple easier on everyone.
Read the rest of this entry »

Old Watch MechanismThose that find the will of God in good works walk in the empowering grace of God – the supernatural power and resources of the kingdom of heaven. They experience the God glorifying work of Matthew 5:16; and the “more than” works of John 14:12. In good works, the signs and wonders of the kingdom bear witness to the gospel of His grace (Acts 14:3).

This is the normal Christian life; for every child of God, and for those called to lead them. It is a tragedy that so many have chosen to settle for less. The purpose of this series is to encourage, edify and equip Marketplace Leaders (and those in their spheres of influence) to search out, discover and walk in such an adventure.

In Part 1, we learned that the “good” of good works is far more important that the “works” themselves. In Part 2, we began searching out the Scriptures that describe good works and the challenges we face in our attempts to walk in them. Here in Part 3, we will conclude with an exploration of God’s provision, our preparation, and His ultimate intention for good works.

God’s Provision for Good Works

Have you ever considered that Jesus could have died, been buried and rose again in less than a week? That is all the time it would have taken for Him to accomplish what many believe to be His only mission. So why was He about the Father’s business for more than three years? It is simple: Because death, burial and resurrection was not His only mission. Read the rest of this entry »

the light of GodIf I understand it correctly, one of the greatest blessings of the Protestant Reformation was the recognition that all followers of Jesus Christ could approach God for repentance and forgiveness, and for revelation and understanding of His word. It was not necessary for the common man to approach God through a “qualified” human intermediary. Tragically, we have taken a step back in time, particularly as it relates to understanding and appropriating the truths of God.

It is not enough to listen to someone else read and expound on the Scriptures. It is not enough to read them for yourself. We are called to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God (1Corinthians 4:1-2). Stewards search out and do something with the Master’s resources. To do anything else is wicked and lazy; not my words, but the words of the Master (Matthew 25:14-30).

We have been given eyes to see and ears to hear – spiritual eyes and ears – to know the mysteries of God (Matthew 13:11). It is the glory of God to hide a matter, but the glory of kings to search out a matter (Proverbs 25:2). How can we deny so great a salvation? How far have we strayed – to our peril (2Thessalonians 2:9)?

Many brave men were martyred for their efforts to make the word of God accessible to everyone. These are our brothers. What must they be thinking? Better yet, what is our Master thinking? And what will He do to His wicked and lazy servants?

The age is coming to a close; and the times have grown perilous. Please let me know if you need help becoming a faithful steward of the mysteries of God. Your future depends on it.

 

Humbly yours and forever His,

P.S. To those of you in leadership, I fervently urge you to refuse to allow those in your spheres of influence to be wicked and lazy. It is a hard thing to say, and hear, but you will be required to give an account.

Old Watch MechanismEvery follower of Jesus Christ has been saved by grace, through faith, to walk in good works (Ephesians 2:8-10). God intends to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are loyal to Him (2Chronicles 9:16). The empowering grace of God is available to those that will faithfully walk in the good works prepared for them. Don’t miss this: We are talking about the supernatural power and resources of heaven, manifested in our midst. For this, we were created!

Search out this matter out with a surrendered heart, and you will discover what good works means for you specifically, in this season of your life. You will also come to understand what it means for the Body of Christ and your spheres of influence. In the end, you will find yourself better prepared to walk in the supernatural grace of God.

In Part 1 of this series, we learned that the “good” of good works is far more important that the “works” themselves. Here in Part 2, we will begin searching out the Scriptures that describe good works and the challenges we face in our attempts to walk in them. This will set the stage for Part 3, where we will explore God’s ultimate provision and intention for them.

As we survey the following passages, ask the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit (our teachers) to reveal the truth of each one for this season of your life. Listen for the word that will become faith for your journey. Allow the truth to do the work necessary to make you free.

For this article, I have made a particular effort to keep my commentary to a minimum; that the word of God would dominate your attention. Use the short comment after each passage to direct your mind toward the main point; but keep your focus on the power of God’s word in the passage. Remember, these passages may not mean what I think they mean, but they must mean something. You find the meaning in them.

The Bible’s Description of Good Works

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Works will not save us. However, we were created for good works – to walk in them. NOTE: Many translations suggest that we are to do the good works. This is a mistranslation of the Greek word peripateō. Keep this in mind as we explore further. Read the rest of this entry »

Old Watch MechanismEvery man, woman and child was created by God to walk in “good works” (Ephesians 2:10). It follows then, that every authority established by God for His people has a God-given opportunity to lead His people into those good works. That responsibility includes hearing the voice of God; for God does not empower works that are not in His will.

Those that find the will of God, in good works, walk in the empowering grace of God – the supernatural ability and resources of the kingdom of heaven. They experience God-glorifying work (Matthew 5:16); and the “more than” works of John 14:12. Signs and wonders will bear witness to the gospel of His grace (Acts 14:3) in the good works of God’s will.

This is the normal Christian life; for every child of God, and for those called to lead them. It is a tragedy that so many have chosen to settle for less; the opposite of Jesus’ promise. Why has this happened to so many in the church? Perhaps they do not understand the mystery of good works. Perhaps they have not been encouraged to walk in this promise of God. Perhaps they have not been equipped for the adventure.

The purpose of this series of articles is to encourage, edify and equip Marketplace Leaders (and those in their spheres of influence) to search out, discover and walk in such an adventure. Let’s start with the basics. Read the rest of this entry »

the light of GodAs you face what promises to be, or may become, a difficult week, I encourage you to consider the 37th Psalm. It is one of my favorites; filled with the promises of God for difficult days; and instruction for the appropriation of those promises. Here are a few examples:

Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb. vv. 1-2

Reading what this psalm has to say about evildoers will give you a heart of sympathy for them. You may even start seeing them as deceived prisoners that could use some help being made free.

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday. vv. 5-6

God allows difficult circumstances to prove what we believe in our heart. Pass this test and you will find yourself in a Matthew 5:16 experience.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the LORD upholds him with His hand. vv. 23-24

Here’s something to keep in mind: Falling and hitting the ground are not the same thing. Many of us trip and fall during difficult times. That does not mean we skin our knees or smash our noses. The LORD promises to uphold us. In our weakness, He is strong!

If you will allow the word of God to do its thing, Psalm 37 will not only put courage in you for this week; it will develop in you the faith and courage for difficult seasons. Taken in community, it will prepare us to face the trials and tribulations that have appeared on our near horizon.

With that in mind, please comment on the courage you received from this promising Psalm. The courage you find will encourage another.

 

Humbly yours and forever His,

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